ESSAY #3: EGO DEPLETION Understanding ego depletion gives us insight into our ow

Understanding ego depletion gives us insight into our own will power and motivation. One of the main ideas in McRaney’s article is that any exertion has some cost to it. Physical and emotional restraint depletes self-regulation on a constant basis. Granted, some restraints cost more fuel than others. The point is that you’re always being depleted at some level through making choices to restrain behavior. In other words, just living and choosing through our day generally depletes our overall ability to self-regulate, make good choices, and keep our “worst selves” at bay.
As noted in McRaney’s discussion about fuel use in the brain, “all brain functions require fuel, but the executive functions seem to require the most” (115). These executive functions—some call them administrative functions—are crucial to making choices for one’s life. However, functions such as planning and organizing burn up so much fuel (ego depletion). That’s why planning, organizing and taking action on tasks for the future can feel so hard; sometimes it burns fuel we just don’t have. We feel like we’re running on fumes—and we are! So we just choose to not plan or organize, then pay the consequences of it later.
And to add insult to injury, McRaney notes that “research suggests that will power isn’t a skill. If it were, there would be some consistency from one task to the next. Instead, every time you exert control over the giant system that is you, that control gets weaker” (166). So, if will power is not a skill that we can neither develop nor make consistent across our life choices, then what can we do about it? We still need to motivate and make choices for ourselves that run our lives.
One suggestion that helps is to identify what dampens executive functioning the most; then try to avoid it.  As McRaney writes, “[t]he only way to avoid this state of mind is to predict what might cause it in your daily life and to avoid those things when you need the most volition” (116).
How can people best manage ego depletion? What are the key strategies for people to minimize ego depletion?
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